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118 Capitol Street, Suite 400, Charleston, West Virginia 25301

Sex Abuse in Scouting and Youth Organizations

West Virginia firm represents children mistreated by authority figures

Children become scouts and join other types of youth organizations to enjoy themselves and learn about the world around them. However, for generations, predatory adults have exploited their positions of authority to commit horrible acts against the young people under their supervision. Now, sex abuse in scouts and other groups supposedly created to serve children has become a national scandal. Located in Charleston, The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC takes action against the individuals who prey on children and the organizations that let it happen so that victims can obtain a financial recovery that addresses the terrible harm they’ve suffered.

How common is sex abuse in scouting and youth organizations?

It is impossible to pinpoint how many young people have been sexually assaulted by scout masters and other youth organization leaders over the years. However, more than 80,000 individuals filed claims in association with the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America, and the total settlement amount should exceed $1 billion. That just covers one youth organization. Overall, the Crimes Against Children Research Center estimates that one in five girls and one in 20 boys is victimized by sexual abuse.

Common places where sex abuse can happen in a youth organization

Even in large group activities, predatory adults can find ways to isolate a child in order to attack them. During a campout, a scout leader might require a child to share a tent or go on a walk to a secluded area. After a lesson or sports practice, an adult could ask the child to stay for a private session or offer to give them a ride home.

Who are typically identified as abusers?

The large-scale litigation relating to Boy Scout sex abuse has shed some light on who is committing these illegal acts. More than 95 percent of claims involve an adult authority, such as a troop leader, as opposed to incidents where one scout attacks another. Abusive youth organization leaders frequently use their power and influence to overcome a victim’s resistance and silence them afterwards. If you are unsure about how to spot a sexual predator, it is best to be careful and avoid any situations where you or someone close to you might be alone with someone displaying suspicious behavior.

What steps are in place to prevent sex abuse in scouts?

Facing billions of dollars in victim payouts, the Boy Scouts of America and other organizations have attempted to install measures to prevent child abuse. One-on-one contact is now prohibited between adults and Boy Scouts. Moreover, a “two deep” leadership system is mandated so that at least two adults are present at all Boy Scout activities. Unfortunately, these changes have come too late for thousands of victims, and abuse cases still persist even with the new rules. Each organization is unique and some have been very slow to take effective action.

What to do if you suspect sex abuse in a youth organization such as scouts

If you’re unsure about what to do when you suspect a problem, a Charleston, WV sex abuse lawyer at our firm can help. Scouting groups and other youth organizations often have internal mechanisms to handle allegations, but you don’t want to give up your legal rights or be pressured into an unfair settlement. We will help you understand the civil and criminal legal ramifications.

Contact a West Virginia lawyer for advice on filing a youth sex abuse claim

The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC advises West Virginia victims of child sex abuse and their families regarding their legal options and represents them in litigation against the liable parties. If you or your child was victimized by a scout leader or someone associated with another type of youth organization, please call 888-819-1281 or contact us online. Our office is in Charleston, two blocks from the riverfront.